Avatar Four Word Reviews: Freak of Nature

You remember Anastacia. She had that massive, powerful voice and a stage persona that was pitched on the borders between sexy and fierce. Her big worldwide smash hit was the super-catchy “I’m Out of Love”, which topped charts of every kind in 2000, including those unrelated to music. Knowing I’d be listening to this album, I’ve had “I’m Out of Love” stuck in my head for several days. It turns out that was from her first album and this is her second. It’s not on this album. It’s still stuck in my head, though.

This is Anastacia’s second album, released in 2001, just a year after the first. If all you remember about her was that one belting, high-powered single from 2000, then imagine her taking her tray back to the musical buffet for seconds, and asking for the same again. That’s what is on this album.

Her voice is incredibly powerful and she is undeniably talented, like Mariah Carey but determined to be heard from space. Her songs are brash and bristling with attitude to match it. The whole album is full of confidence and bravado, but to the point of being aggressive, and I felt like it probably played better to an American audience 20 years ago than to a disinterested Englishman today. I don’t know what she has to prove but she has finished proving it by the end of the second song.

Anyway, let’s see how this Ryvita crumbles.

TrackWord 1Word 2Word 3Word 4
1. Freak of NatureJazzysassiness,faketrumpets
2. Paid My DuesBelligerentoverbearingempowermentanthem
3. Overdue GoodbyeRnBguitars,soulfulwailing
4. You’ll Never Be AlonePotentialCelineDionB-side
5. One Day in Your LifeFirstsinglelightlyrewritten
6. How Come the World Won’t StopThissongwon’tstop
7. Why’d You Lie to MeBluCantrellonsteroids
8. Don’tcha WannaConfrontationalcourtingrequest.Denied
9. SecretsMandatorylatealbumballad
10. Don’t Stop (Doin’ It)Fasterbutnotmemorable
11. I Dreamed YouHalfgospelhalfarsed
12. Overdue Goodbye (Reprise)Veryshortunnecessaryfarewell

The big loud pop songs on this album (there are plenty) sound like you’d expect. They’re not “I’m Out of Love” but they come from the same place, all full of challenges and posturing and the word STRONG, sung through gritted teeth. The chorus of “Paid My Dues” is full of it – “I done made it through, stand on my own two, I paid my dues.” Like, OK, whatever, we get it. The ballads and the slow ones (not so many) are softer and gentler, but only relative to the rest, and most of them sound weirdly dated like they belong in the early 90s – somewhere between TLC and Dina Carroll.

It’s hard to know what else to say, really: this is not an album with much light and shade, it’s really just some snarling pop and some quieter stuff here and there that all has the same message: I’m strong, I’m powerful, I won’t back down, you can’t break me, etc etc etc. Ugh. Musically I thought it was sort of OK, but not very varied. Lyrically I feel like I’ve been stuck at a party with the person everyone else has been avoiding.

In summary, then, this wasn’t a dreadful album, but it was pretty forgettable. I’ve listened to all of it and it all just reminds me of the one song I already knew from a different album altogether. My favourite thing was discovering that track 5 is basically the tune of “I’m Out of Love” with different lyrics, and you can just sing the one you know over the top if you want. My least favourite thing was feeling like I was being shouted at for 45 minutes.

10 comments on “Four Word Reviews: Freak of Nature

  • I reckon she could shout at about 4.5 million people just from home if she wanted to. There was no need to go to the trouble of recording it and putting it on CDs.

  • You have to love the sounds of France, so lilting and dangerous at the same time. If I were you (and thankfully I’m not) I would record it and sell it in local shops as ‘Nature’s Way: original wildlife of where I live’.

  • If it was recorded out of my windows, the sounds of gruesome nature and Anastacia’s singing would be punctuated by occasional artillery fire. It’s nothing to worry about.

  • I think they should get together for a duet. The world’s loudest musician and the world’s quietest. Maybe they’d cancel each other out.

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